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Workers flee in major Montreal police op

Dozens of workers at a computer games firm fled during a major police operation in the Canadian city of Montreal which had been reported as a potential hostage situation. However, local police now say the drama was caused by a hoax emergency call.People crowded onto the roof of the Ubisoft building in the Mile End…

Dozens of workers at a computer games firm fled during a major police operation in the Canadian city of Montreal which had been reported as a potential hostage situation.

However, local police now say the drama was caused by a hoax emergency call.

People crowded onto the roof of the Ubisoft building in the Mile End neighbourhood north west of the CBD. Ubisoft is a major developer of computer games including Assassin’s Creed.

Staff were told to lock themselves away and put their phones on silent as the drama unfolded.

Canadian broadcaster CBC reported a “major police operation” was underway with heavily armed officers surrounding the area and ambulances at the scene. It was kicked off by a call to the emergency services with officers arriving around 1.30pm on Friday afternoon local time (5.30am Saturday, AEDT).

A perimeter was set up on the corner of St-Laurent Boulevard and St-Viateur Street. A SWAT truck was dispatched to the area.

However, Montreal Police have now said a hoax call was made to 911 leading to the operation. The specifics of the hoax remain unclear.

An Ubisoft employee told TV channel CTV that employees at the office were asked to hide in an area that locks, to put their phones on silent, and to keep quiet.

Employee Hugo Lefevre said he had just returned from lunch when a rumour started spreading through the building that there was a potential hostage situation in the building, reported newspaper The Globe and Mail.

He said at first he thought it might be a prank, but then he was met at the door by police with weapons drawn.

“It doesn’t feel real,” he said.

“No threat has been identified for now,” the Police Service of Montreal City said in a tweet.

Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante told locals to avoid the Mile End suburb.

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